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Strange Gearbox Warning Light Issue

Discussion in 'California/Portofino/Roma' started by BPPilot, Sep 9, 2020.

  1. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    Hello All, I have a 2012 Ferrari California and have been having a very strange gearbox warning light issue which has been present since I purchased the vehicle.

    When I drive for extended periods of time (2 hrs+) and shut down, then start back up, the gearbox warning light will illuminate. Here's the odd part, this only seems to happen when I'm low on fuel (2-3 bars left, so not overly low). I've noticed a pattern, when I fill the vehicle with gas, the light then goes off and stays off.

    The vehicle drives absolutely fine and shifts correctly as well. The dealer has checked the fluid levels and cleaned the valves which hasn't helped to cure this odd quirk. This has happened for many months, literally since the day I took delivery of the car.

    Has anyone else seen such an issue occur? Maybe it's coincidental that refueling seems to "solve" the issue, but it really does seem to be a pattern that for some reason that makes it go away.

    My local dealer doesn't seem to be able to find any issues and of course this is incredible difficult to diagnose given that it never is actually illuminated when it goes to the dealer for service. Any insight would be greatly appreciated as I've been dealing with this issue for many months.

    Thanks in advance for any replies and/or thoughts/suggestions.
     
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  3. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    21,959
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    How old is your battery? These cars seem to be very susceptible to the life/quality of the battery, and can often throw warnings that seemingly have nothing to do with the battery.Best of luck...T
     
  4. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    Thanks Tom, appreciate your response. That's actually the first thing I thought of as well, the battery was replaced about a month ago though so have largely ruled that out as the cause. It's throwing a code for a solenoid D malfunction in the gearbox, yet it drives/shifts perfectly.
     
  5. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    21,959
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    OK. I assumed so, but wanted to throw it out as a possibility.

    Another crazy question - does your car have HELE? If so, do you have an AGM battery?
    I vaguely recall one F-chatter had all sorts of mystery codes and issues, and it was traced to having the wrong type of battery for a HELE car.
    Just spitballing here...T
     
  6. Nospinzone

    Nospinzone F1 Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    5,472
    Weston, MA
    Full Name:
    Paul
    Just a SWAG, but since it is a 2012, did you check the condition of the battery cables, particularly where they clamp onto the battery terminals?
     
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  8. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    Absolutely appreciate you throwing that out as a possibility. I was having all kinds of quirky indications prior to the battery change so that was certainly a very viable suspect. I don't believe I've got HELE. They replaced it with an Interstate battery which was insanely expensive (though not surprising given it's an F-car), but am not sure the type as I've honestly never looked at it.
     
  9. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    The battery cables look good and the dealer did a full pre-buy inspection prior to delivery (literally the issue happened the first time the day I took delivery, Murphy's Law!). Next time it's in I'll have them take another look at those, good suggestion!
     
  10. SLViper1

    SLViper1 Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Mar 25, 2014
    546
    Nashville/Destin
    Full Name:
    Steve
    Does it seem like you may have inherited someone else’s issue? I have read case after case of new owners with lights, issues, some minor some major. New owners chock it up to bad luck.
    Hmm I wonder if some folks clear codes and trade sell rather than spend a fortune to sort it out/fix properly? (This is many years, and many Ferrari’s) ,360,430,458, Cali etc.
    Or is it just me.....?
     
  11. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    There's no doubt those gremlins lead folks to just let the next guy deal with it... In my case, I know the original owner and trust him completely when he tells me that issue never occurred in the past (dealership service records don't indicate any prior issues either). He has 5 others now as well, sold this one to make room for his next one. Does it happen where people dump the issues on others? Absolutely. In this case, I think it's luck of the draw that it happened with me. Given that it doesn't seem to affect functionality, I absolutely love the car and don't have an ounce of regret buying it!
     
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  13. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    Well, it looks like the "low fuel" condition turning on the gearbox light was simply a coincidence. After running tests of the gearbox (which all passed), I got the car back from the dealer and this time to they told me to keep the tank filled up to see if that really was a part of the issue.

    Here's the irony. I filled the car with gas to top it off twice in the past week. BOTH times immediately upon starting after refilling, the gearbox light illuminated once again. Incredibly ironic given that in the past, the light would go off when I'd fill up. Now, the times I've filled up is when it comes back ON. The dealer assures me the fuel system and gearbox system have no correlation, yet it just seems really wild timing wise this light always comes on/off right at the time of a refueling (and yes, I've tried tightening the gas cap too in case something funky is happening with that being loose).

    This is a really odd deal, literally has been happening for months now - and the transmission/gears work perfectly - no lost gears or anything like that.

    The only thing I can determine at this point as a "common" element is it seems to happen after I've been driving the car for a while (say in excess of an hour either in a single trip or several shorter trips in a short time span). Almost like it "fails" when it's been used for a while straight without a rest (though an hour of usage is hardly anything wildly excessive). If I leave it for a few hours or overnight, the light clears itself.

    So, it's back to the dealer now for another round of diagnostics. Any thoughts/ideas are greatly appreciated!
     
  14. Motob

    Motob Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 11, 2003
    2,179
    Berkeley, CA
    Full Name:
    Brian Brown
    The gearbox ECU will store a fault or multiple faults anytime the gearbox light is illuminated. What fault codes has the dealership downloaded after you have taken the car to them. This is the only way that they are going to be able to diagnose the problem

    Brian Brown
    San Francisco Motorsports
     
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  15. BPPilot

    BPPilot Rookie

    Feb 15, 2020
    8
    Full Name:
    Brad Pierce
    Thanks so much for your reply, Brian. Your note reminded me I needed to follow-up this thread with the resolution so others searching a similar problem will gain insight.

    My local dealer was finally able to replicate the problem, my explanation may be fuzzy as I don't completely understand what I'm talking about here, but hopefully will get the gist. Basically they told me solenoid valve values were all at 11 following the cleaning procedures. One valve would climb to 13 after a while of driving extensively. While the gearbox itself was completely functional, this one single value would repeatedly fluctuate higher. The original premise it had something to do with refueling was simply a wild coincidence that it happened every single time right at that same point.

    The resolution was the installation of a SAP1 gearbox kit which switches out that whole bank of sensors. All parts and labor were covered by the Ferrari New Power Warranty. Resolution time was approximately 10 days in the shop. I know they needed to lower the gearbox to accomplish this task so was labor intensive, but not as time consuming as a level three gearbox rebuild.

    My vehicle is back with me now and all seems to be good, no more gearbox light!

    Appreciate everyone's input and thoughts along the way, nice to have this little gremlin squared away and feel very thankful Ferrari and my dealer were able to diagnose and fix it properly.
     
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